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Alias/Wavefront's Maya The Force Behind Premier GAMECUBE Launch Title

LucasArts' Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader created with Maya (November 20, 2001)
Alias/Wavefront today announced that its Maya software package played a pivotal role in the development of the NINTENDO GAMECUBE title Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader.

The game, published by LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC and developed by Factor 5 LLC, is one of eighteen GAMECUBE launch titles set to come to market in North America between now and the holiday season. Early media previews are highlighting Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader as the title most likely to influence console buyers to invest in NINTENDO's next generation console. GAMECUBE became available this past Sunday, November 18th.

About the Game

In 1997 LucasArts and Factor 5 embarked on a mission to capture the essence of the original Star Wars movies in a console flight-action game. In 1998 they released Star Wars: Rogue Squadron for Nintendo 64(R). The game, which featured detailed graphics, soon became a favorite of both Star Wars and Nintendo 64 fans. Both these groups have been eagerly anticipating the day a follow-up title would be released. Early reviews of the game claim that it has been worth the wait. Says online game magazine GameSpot(R): "Factor 5 has brought Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader to the GAMECUBE in a flurry of blaster fire that sets an impressive standard for both Star Wars games and GAMECUBE titles at large." Gaming Age concurs, stating: "Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader is definitely the best GAMECUBE game hitting at launch."

The Role of Maya

When it came to creating Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, the task facing Factor 5 contained two considerable hurdles. First, the target console was still in development. Secondly, at nine months, the deadline was looming very near. Therefore Factor 5's main challenge was to quickly estimate what types of content the hardware would be able to accommodate.

Says Thomas Engel, director of technology at Factor 5: "Because we were developing for a new target platform we had little foreknowledge of what would be required and so we needed a product that could expand with our evolving project requirements. Our pipeline had to be constructed in real time and Maya let us adapt our software tools quickly."

At Factor 5 a team of three modelers and seven animators used Maya's polygonal modeling and character animation tools to create the game's deadly walkers, attacking fighter ships -- both Imperial and Rebel -- and the behemoth Death Star itself. Maya's MEL scripting language made the pipeline more efficient by enabling programmers to create scripts for repetitive tasks as well as by allowing them to take control of the Maya interface and extend it for their purposes.

"The games industry is so dynamic that you need tools that can morph controllably under your feet while games are in production," explains Factor 5 President and Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader Director, Julian Eggebrecht. "No software can have all the answers up front. Maya gives you the extendibility to create the tools you need that will allow your team to finish the task at hand."

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